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Monday could bring wintry mix
Crews are not preparing for extremes
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Forecasters are watching the next storm pattern closely as they try to predict where and how much snow will fall early next week.

"We're monitoring the situation closely, but there's still a lot of uncertainty in our computer models," said Jason Deese, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City. "The one we're really looking at is developing Monday afternoon into Monday evening with the same low pressure that developed like the last storm."

However, the upcoming snow flurries won't look anything like the inches that fell Jan. 9.

"This one won't be nearly as strong as last week," he said. "In the Hall County area, there will be some mix of snow or rain. This weekend we should see more complete computer models for Monday."

On Friday morning, the National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook for Northeast Georgia over the weekend, indicating that a winter storm would hit during the early part of the week.

"Perhaps Tuesday or Wednesday. However ... details are very sketchy at this point in time," the notice stated. "It is still too early to know whether the event will feature more snow or ice or rain or how much precipitation will fall."

Most of metro Atlanta and Northeast Georgia missed snow flurries that were predicted to fall Thursday night, but a few snowflakes landed near the state border in Towns, Union and White counties.

Forecasters expect some flurries this morning, but any precipitation should end by early afternoon.

Local governments and road crews are anticipating what forecasters will decide about Monday's uncertain batch of precipitation.

"We are ready, and we will respond when needed," Teri Pope, spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation's Gainesville-based District 1, said Friday.

"We scraped snow in Towns, Union and White counties this morning, where snow started falling after 1:30 this morning. We had one crew out in each county, hitting the known trouble spots and making sure main state routes were free of snow for the morning's commute."

District 1's DOT crews gather weather information from both National Weather Service offices in Atlanta and South Carolina.

"We check those updates several times a day," she said. "The most important factor is what's happening locally on the roads, and local law enforcement agencies talk directly to our maintenance people there on a regular basis."

For Monday's storm, crews aren't preparing for any extremes.

"We're not planning on bringing in shifts of people to work," Pope said. "But we are always on call, especially during the winter."

Though the latest rash of winter storms seems out of the norm for Georgia, the U.S. Drought Monitor placed Hall County in an "abnormally dry" category as of Tuesday, with portions of the state experiencing moderate to extreme drought. Only two counties in Georgia have no drought-like conditions.

"The drought is forecast to continue across the southeastern U.S. ..." the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center released Thursday. "The drought (in Hall County) may persist or intensify."

Lake Lanier stood at 1,069.15 feet on Friday night, less than a foot below winter full pull of 1,070.

The climate center will give the next drought update on Feb. 3.


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